DeSantis Advised to Write ‘LIKABLE’ on Notepad Before Campaign Debate

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was advised to write ‘LIKABLE’ on his notepad before a 2018 debate.
  • An advisor told DeSantis to tone down his aggressiveness in a debate prep video obtained by ABC News.
  • “You have to write in all caps at the top of the pad, ‘LIKABLE,'” the advisor off camera said. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was advised by an aide to find ways to stay “likable” and tone down his aggressiveness while speaking in debates.

Old videos obtained by ABC News and published on Sunday showed DeSantis preparing for his gubernatorial debates in 2018. 

“When you walk up there, you have a pad, you have to write in all caps at the top of the pad: ‘LIKABLE,'” an advisor sitting off-camera said to DeSantis. The then-congressman gave him a quick nod. 

The advisor added: “I do the same thing, because I have the same personality. We’re both aggressive.”


According to ABC News, the advisor later told DeSantis: “You want to have that likable, dismissive tone, and not condescending.”

DeSantis then responded, per ABC News: “Yeah, definitely.”

DeSantis took a measured tone during the 2018 debates and also while speaking about disaster relief efforts in Arcadia in October after Hurricane Ian made landfall in South Florida. 

However, he has been known to lose his cool at times. In April, DeSantis got into a public back-and-forth with a reporter who challenged him on claims that he witnessed torture while he was a junior officer working at Guantanamo Bay.

“Do you honestly believe that’s credible?” DeSantis said to the reporter during a press conference in the Museum of Tolerance in West Jerusalem 0n April 27. 

He said that in 2006, he was a “junior officer” and asked the reporter angrily: “Do you honestly think that they would’ve remembered me?”

And in March, Ron DeSantis had a terse exchange with a reporter from The Times of London after failing to answer a question on how his Ukraine policy would differ from President Joe Biden’s. 

In other parts of the 2018 videos released by ABC News, the governor was seen preparing with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. Gaetz asked DeSantis a mock debate question about how DeSantis would handle potential disagreements with then-President Donald Trump. 

DeSantis responded by saying that he would have to answer the questions in a way that would not “piss off” Trump’s voters. 

“I have to frame it in a way that’s not going to piss off all of his voters,” he said. DeSantis then explained that he would respond to such a question by saying he would do what he thinks is “right” and support Trump’s agenda, per ABC’s video.

A representative of DeSantis did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours. 

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